Talut

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طالوت‎

Talut
Talut.png
Ṭālūt's name in Islamic calligraphy
Other namesSaul (possible)
Gideon (possible)
Known forThe first king of Israelites in the Quran.
TitleKing of Israel
SuccessorDāwūd

Talut (Arabic: طالوت, romanizedṬālūt) is a character in the Quran traditionally identified with the Israelite king Saul,[1] as he is stated to be the Malik (مَـلِـك, 'king') of Israel. He is also identified with Gideon,[2] with the reasoning that the Quran references the same incident of the drinking from a river as found in the Book of Judges (7:5-7) of the Hebrew Bible,[3] alongside other factors associated with the latter.

Name[edit]

The name Talut has an uncertain etymology. Unlike most other figures found in both the Hebrew Bible and the Quran, the Arabic name is not similar to the Hebrew name (שָׁאוּל, Šāʾūl). According to Muslim exegetes, Talut means "tall" and refers to the extraordinary stature of Saul, which would be consistent with the Biblical account.[4] In explanation of the name, exegetes such as the 11th-century scholar Abu Ishaq al-Tha'labi hold that at this time, the future king of Israel was to be recognized by his height; Samuel set up a measure, but no person in Israel reached the sufficient height except for Saul.

Narrative in the Quran[edit]

After the time of Musa (Moses), the Israelites began to demand a king to lead them into war against their enemies. Consequently, Talut was appointed king by an unnamed prophet of the Children of Israel who announced that Allah had chosen Talut as the new king of Israel. The Israelites questioned the prophet’s decision, lacking respect for Talut due to his lack of wealth. The prophet then told them that Talut was more favoured than they were. He was distinguished from the rest by his great knowledge and by his physique. A sign of his rightful role as king was that Allah had brought back the Ark of the Covenant to Israel for the Israelites. Talut tested his people at a river: whoever drank from it would not follow him in battle excepting one who took from it a handful. Many of them drank, but only the faithful ventured on. Talut then led the Israelites to victory over the army of Goliath, who was killed by Dawud (David). Talut is not considered to be a prophet (نَـبِي, nabī) of Allah, but rather a divinely-appointed king.[5]

Hadith[edit]

Talut is also mentioned in a hadith (حَـديـث, 'narration'): "Narrated Al-Bara: The companions of Muhammad, who took part in Badr, told me that their number was that of Talut's companions who crossed the river (of Jordan) with him, and they were over three-hundred-and-ten men. By Allah, none crossed the river with him, but a believer."[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ M. A. S. Abdel Haleem: The Qur'an, a new translation, note to 2:247.
  2. ^ "The Holy Quran".
  3. ^ Judges vii. 5-7
  4. ^ Leaman, Oliver, The Quran, An Encyclopedia, 2006, p.638.
  5. ^ Quran 2:246–252
  6. ^ Bukhari: Book 5: Volume 59: Hadith 293: Military Expeditions led by the Prophet (Al-Maghaazi).